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We don't mix with these people. What kind of offspring do you think that would yield? Weak people. Half-people. We will not have our Saxon blood watered down by mixing with them.
~ King Cerdic

Cerdic is the main antagonist in the 2004 live action film King Arthur. He is the tyrannical king of the Saxons, and the leader of the forces invading Britain.

He was portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård, who also played Terry Glass, Martin Vanger, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Jim Whitlock, and the The Grand Duke.

Biography

Arrival

Along with his son Cynric, Cedric is the leader of the Saxons who is invading the British Isles. Along with a vast host, they have arrived in the wilderness north of Hadrian's wall.

After landing on the shore, the Saxons pillage a nearby village. Cerdic watches one of his men rape a woman and kicks him off the women, telling him that they will not mix with these people, as they are weak. The man angrily claims that according to their law, no man may deny him the spoils of their conquest, and Cerdic's son Cynric tells his father that the man speaks the truth. This causes Cerdic to draw his sword and strike the man down, much to the displeasure of Cynric. The raped woman then drops to the ground in front of Cerdic, thanking him for saving her, but after a short look at her, Cerdic orders his men to kill her. He then walks to his son and quietly tells him that if he wants to challenge him, he should do so with a sword in his hand. He also reminds his son that he is the king, and will rule as long as he lives.

Cerdic arrives at the British shore.

Later, while the army is camping, Cynric then brings an informant before Cerdic, who tells him that Hadrian's wall is guarded by Artorius Castus and his knights, which are said to never have been defeated in battle. After the man is done, Cerdic asks him why he should trust him, as he is a traitor to his own people. Cynric then orders his informant to tell Cerdic about the roman mansion nearby. The informant then tells Cerdic that a family with great importance to Rome lives nearby. Cynric also tells his father that their ransom could fund the Saxon's entire campaign. Cerdic acknowledges this and agrees to head to the village first. They then talk about their battle strategy against the Romans.Cerdic plans for Cynric to take his men to the mansion, burning every village and killing everyone in his way. He also plans for Cynric to cut of the Roman's retreat while Cerdic and the main army will fall down on the village from the north.

As their last task, Arthur and his knights were sent to save the roman family as one of the family members is Alecto, the Pope's favourite godson and possibly "destined to be Pope one day". They arrive at the village and do not only bring Alecto's family but the villager's as well, as the Saxons will kill anyone in their way. However, as they are now much more people then expected and do not have enough horses, they are slowed down. When Cerdic, Cynric and their man arrive, they find the village abandoned, the family gone. They also find tracks near the village, and a few survivors that tell them that it was Arthur and his knights who took them. To get the boy, Cerdic orders Cynric to take his men east to find the knights and take the family while Cerdic will take the main army south to Hadrian's wall. He also gives the command to burn the village.

Preparing for Battle

After Arthur and his knights, having successfully escaped from Cynric and his men, return to Hadrian's wall, Cerdic and the main Saxon army reach the wall as well. Cerdic is also joined by his son, who has taken heavy losses while fighting Arthur. Cerdic is told by his informant that Arthur's men, now free from their oath, have left the wall. Cerdic tells the informant that the Saxon's will slaughter his people and that the man should watch, advising a nearby tree as a good hiding spot. However, they then witness a single knight, Arthur, motionless on horseback. Though the informant claims that it only is a single man, Cerdic wants to meet with him and signals his interest for a meeting. Arthur meets Cerdic on the plains north of the wall, between both camps.

Cerdic awaits Arthur

There, Cerdic tells Arthur that he, wherever he goes on the island, hears Arthur's name as if he was a god. However, now all he sees is flesh and blood. Arthur bluntly tells Cerdic to speak his terms and Cerdic asks what Arthur is fighting for, now that the Roman's have left. Arthur tells him that he is fighting for a cause beyond Rome's or Cerdic's understanding. Cerdic then claims that if Arthur has come to ask for mercy, he should be on his knees. Arthur replies that he came to see Cerdic's face, so that he would be able to find him on the battlefield and kill him. After Arthur has rode off, Cerdic quietly remarks to himself "Finally! A man worth killing!". He then orders his men to prepare for battle. The battle drums of the Saxons cause Arthur's knights to rally to their leader one last time.

Battle of Badon Hill

When the battle begins and Cedric sees Arthur's knights on the other side of the wall, waiting in the distance, Cedric realises that they have a plan. He tells Cynric to send what's left of his infantry to face them. Disgusted, Cynric remarks that Cerdic is killing his men, but Cerdic furiously responds that they are his men. When Cynric moves to join his men, Cerdic holds him back, demanding that his son stays with him. Before Cynric's men reach the wall, Tristan fires an arrow, killing the traitor hiding in the trees. Unexpectedly, the Saxons are able to cross the wall without problems, as the gates are left open. However, once they are through, they are infulfed in a mist caused by Arthur's men burning straw pitched with tar. They are then wiped out when they are shot by the Woads, who have come to aid Arthur in the defense of their homelands. From the northern side, Cerdic, Cynric and his men only hear the screams of the dying men, then silence. This visibly disturbs Cynric, but Cerdic shows no emotion.

Cerdic then leads the main host into battle. Once through the gates, they too see no enemies, only the corpses of their fallen men. Cerdic then sends one of his lieutenants to the left flank and orders Cynric to go with him. He and the main part of his host then walk towards Arthur and the knights, who they see on a hill in the distance. On the way Cerdic's group is shot by the Woad with catapults heaving burning boulders into their midst. The knights then charge onto the Saxons and Cerdic recognizes Arthur. During the ensuing battle, Cerdic is challenged by Arthur's knight Tristan and battles him. In their fight, Cerdic disarms Tristan but kicks the sword back to him, to allow him to continue the fight.

Cerdic's death.

However Tristan is eventually defeated and, with Cerdic making sure that Arthur sees it, killed by the Saxon king. Furilosly, Arthur attacks Cerdic and during their figh both opponents receive multiple wounds. Cerdic eventually beats down Arthur. While Arthur is on his knees, Cerdic approaches from behind, planning to execute his foe, but is caught by surprise then Arthur thrusts his sword backwards, lunging it into Cerdic's torso. Now being the one kneeling, Cerdic manages to speak a last word, "Arthur!", before falling over, dead.

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